Addressing the school readiness needs of children living in low-income communities as they transition into kindergarten is a critical, national policy issue. Miami-Dade County is one of the largest and most ethnically diverse counties in the United States, with challenging poverty rates and a large percentage of Latino and recently immigrated families from Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. Of urgent concern is that many children enter prekindergarten and kindergarten classrooms “not ready to learn,” and far too many have social, emotional, and academic needs that cannot be addressed by classroom teachers or school district resources.  These concerns are especially evident in Title 1 Schools and schools targeted by the district for special intervention, where students have historically high failure rates.

Many children entering public schools have previously received educational services through community-based preschool programs, but before this initiative there was no way to assess service gaps across the transition to kindergarten, so as to identify and better address children’s school readiness needs.  This project creates a formal research partnership among early childhood educational providers and the school district. The initial goal has been to build a research-practice partnership to improve coordinated early childhood research, practice, and policy, so as to support school readiness and early school success for all students.

Contact Us

Thank you for your interest. If you have specific questions, please see our contact information below.

Rebecca Shearer rshearer@miami.edu       

Mark Needle applied_research@outlook.com

Steering Committee

University of Miami: Rebecca Bulotsky-Shearer

Early Learning Coalition (ELC) of Miami-Dade/Monroe: Anabel Espinosa

Miami-Dade County Head Start/Early Head Start: Maite Riestra, Angela McCoy

Miami Dade County Public Schools: Marisol Diaz

The Children’s Trust: Lori Hanson

Department of Children and Families: Sonia De Escobar (In process)

UM Center for Computational Science (CCS): Deepthi Puram

UM Children’s Registry and Information Systems (CHRIS): Christine Delgado

Facilitator: Mark Needle